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The blog of author Dennis Cooper

Chantal Akerman Day *

* (Restored)

 

‘Arguably the most important European director of the 1970s and 1980s, Chantal Akerman has a spare visual style that is matched only by the uncompromising ferocity of her individual vision as a filmmaker. Her upbringing was anything but privileged and this hardscrabble beginning encouraged Akerman to have compassion for the disenfranchised, a theme that runs through all her work… Although Akerman’s films seldom play outside the festival circuit, her dry, acerbic vision of human existence has proven deeply influential for a younger generation of feminist filmmakers.

‘Chantal Akerman’s work can be considered as a meditation on the problematic nature of the representational abilities of cinema. Many of her works contain images that are presented in unbroken takes from a fixed perspective, and her films are often marked by the lack of conventional cinematic devices such as dialogue or plot. Often set in real time, they display a lack of hierarchy in the way in which the images are presented; the gradual accumulation of small details and everyday observations create a language of great emotional power.

‘A yearning for the ordinary as well as the everyday runs through Akerman’s work like a recurring, plaintive refrain. It is a longing that takes many forms: part of it is simply her ambition to make a commercially successful movie; another part is the desire of a self-destructive, somewhat regressive neurotic — Akerman herself in Saute ma ville, Je tu il elle, and The Man With a Suitcase; Delphine Seyrig in Jeanne Dielman; Aurore Clement in Les rendezvous d’Anna — to go legit and be like “normal” people. Je tu il elle and Les rendezvous d’Anna both feature a bisexual heroine who wants to either resolve an unhappy relationship with another woman or to go straight; in Saute ma ville, Je tu il elle, Jeanne Dielman, and The Man With a Suitcase, the desire to be “normal” is largely reflected in the efforts of the heroine simply to inhabit a domestic space.

‘If Laura Mulvey is the queen of feminist film theory, Chantal Akerman is its messiah figure: the one to make its theories compelling and cinematic and accessible and powerful and hot rather than cold and counter cinematic. The importance of Mulvey’s films is in their complete dismissal of a misogynist film form in an attempt to create a specifically female gaze, as in her unwatchable masterpiece Riddles of the Sphinx, but in the same year, Akerman took it a step further with Jeanne Dielman. In the film, made when she was just 25, Akerman co-opted the cinematic techniques of the Hollywood gaze and manipulated them to serve a female narrative, and ended up making one of the most important works in the European Cinema.

Jeanne Dielman is a widow who spends her days doing her chores, looking after her teenage son, and turning daily tricks, and halfway through the three days we spend watching her, everything falls apart methodically, building up unbearable suspense before its shocking climax. The film is about watching Jeanne as an object of the camera’s gaze, and also as an object of a patriarchal society, in which her every movement is made to serve the domestic space, her clients, or her son. In the film’s entirely fixed shots that meander on for as long as it takes for her to complete her tasks, we watch Jeanne as she moves throughout her tiny world. Akerman creates claustrophobic suspense along with boredom, and our unconsummated desire for visual action forces us to empathize with Jeanne as her madness and our frustrated detachment elevate side-by-side. It is an overwhelming work that goes beyond feminist film theory and emerges on the other side; that is, it creates a compulsively watchable film as visually thrilling as Hitchcock and as textually complex as Godard.

‘One of the boldest cinematic visionaries of the past quarter century, the film-school dropout Chantal Akerman takes a profoundly personal and aesthetically idiosyncratic approach to the form, using it to investigate geography and identity, space and time, sexuality and religion. Influenced by the structural cinema she was exposed to when she came to New York from her native Belgium in 1970, at age twenty (work by artists like Michael Snow, Yvonne Rainer, and Andy Warhol), Akerman made her mark in the decade that followed, playing with long takes and formal repetition in her films, which include the architectural meditation Hotel Monterey (1972), the obsessive portrait of estrangement Je tu il elle (1975), the autobiographical New York elegy News from Home (1976), and the austere antiromance Les rendez-vous d’Anna (1978).’ — collaged

 

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Stills



































































 

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Further

Chantal Akerman @ IMDb
Chantal Akerman @ The Criterion Collection
CA’s films @ strictly film school
CA @ Marian Goodman Gallery
‘Chantal Akerman’s New York
Chantal Akerman: The Pajama Interview
‘Romance of the Ordinary [on Chantal Akerman]’
‘Chantal Akerman’s Films: A Dossier’
‘Then as Now, the Terrors of the Routine’
‘Chantal Akerman in the Seventies’
‘Chantal Akerman says ‘a film is a film is a film,’ but hers really are different’
‘Chantal Akerman: A 1976 Interview’ @ Video Data Base
‘Celebrating the Everyday Wonder of Chantal Akerman on Her Birthday’
‘One Day Pina Asked… and Chantal Akerman Listened’
‘The films of Chantal Akerman : a cinema of displacements’
‘CHANTAL AKERMAN @ THE LIST’
‘Chantal Akerman: My family and other dark materials’
‘La Chambre Akerman: The Captive as Creator’

 

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Extras


A Conversation With CHANTAL AKERMAN // Venice 2011


Young Chantal Akerman on Jeanne Dielman


Chantal Akerman on Pierrot le fou


Entretien avec Chantal Akerman

 

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Interview
from The A.V. Club

 

I wanted to start at the very beginning, with you as a 15-year-old seeing Pierrot Le Fou—

Chantal Akerman: Oh, I have said that a hundred times. Forget about it. You know all about that. I have told that story one million times. And I am so angry at Godard that I don’t even want to think about it. Because he is getting to be such an asshole now, and he’s anti-Semitic. He gave me the push, but that’s it.

Skipping over the anecdote, then, what was it that made you want to be a filmmaker?

CA: Well, yes yes. It’s Godard, it’s Pierrot Le Fou. But it’s very simple. I was not interested by cinema when I was young. And it’s also related to Brussels. Most of the films were forbidden. You needed to be 16 to see any interesting things. So all I saw before that was big American shit like, I don’t know what: warfare, Les Canons De Navarone, The Ten Commandments. We were just going to the movies to kiss and eat ice cream and eventually look at the movie. But I didn’t care. I was much more interested in literature; I wanted to be a writer. Then I saw Godard’s film, Pierrot Le Fou, and I had the feeling it was art, and that you could express yourself. It was in 1965, and you felt that the times were changing. He was really representing that, and freedom and poetry and another type of love and everything. So as a little girl, I went out of that place, the cinema, and I said, “I want to make films. That’s it.”

A lot of people make art to get out of the place where they grew up, but so many of your films have to do with travel and moving from place to place—

CA: You mean nomadisme. Well, I’m Jewish. That’s all. So I am in exile all the time. Wherever we go, we are in exile. Even in Israel, we are in exile.

And you had a sense of that even at 15?

CA: I never felt that I belonged. When I was at school… First I went to a Jewish school, when I was very little. But when I was 12, they put me in a school with a lot of traditions, and they were educated people and they were talking about Greece and the Parthenon and I don’t know what. All the kids, all the girls they had already seen that and knew that from their family, and I would say, “What are you talking about, what’s that?” It’s not my world.

Your films are so often concerned with enclosed and circumscribed spaces. Was it natural to go from that to the gallery installations you’ve done in recent years?

CA: It was not natural. It happened because Kathy Halbreich from MOMA asked me to do something for the museum. I said yes, but at the time, I didn’t know even what an installation was. I had never seen one. So when she came in 1990… It was during one of my shoots. I said, “Yes, I don’t mind doing something, if I do a movie. And then from the movie I can do an installation.” She said, “I’m interested in history. I’m interested in languages.” And I said to her, “It’s been a long time I’ve wanted to make a film about Eastern Europe, and it’s now opening.”

So she said, “Great.” And I thought I would use all those Slavic languages like music, changing little by little, in all the countries. I didn’t use any of it. I made almost a silent movie. Then she didn’t find the money, so I found the money myself to do a film about Eastern Europe: From The East. Two years later, they called me and said, “We have the money to make the installation.” I said “Great. What can I do now?” And I started to play around with the material. I did From The East, and I thought it was so interesting and playful and so light. Compare that to making a film. And that you could do it yourself and in your home, and not depend on production, and do it with almost nothing. And I loved that lightness. It was like finding again my debut, like I was doing with Babette [Mangolte], with one or two reels, little things here and there. And I loved it.

So I did more and more and more. I had, just now, a show in Paris. And I shot myself a year and a half ago, in my place, in my window, in my street. I heard something about Hiroshima and the speed of the light and the fact that the shadow of the people, who were already dead and on the ground, were still kind of there, by the radiation. I did something related to that. It’s can be inventive. You don’t have to tell a story, and you don’t have to please a TV or an audience. What I think is dreadful about art is the way it’s related to the money afterward. Not when you do it… Because when you do it, you do, it in a way, like in your kitchen, you know? But after that, it’s like 5,000 rich people have access to it. A movie, even though it can be a bad movie or a good movie, it is more democratic. That annoys me. The people who buy my films, for example, the people who buy my installations, well, it’s sometimes a foundation or a museum. When it’s a foundation, it’s related to very, very, very rich people—who are your enemies! Your enemies are feeding you. But you’re not meeting them. So it’s a very strange thing.

So that’s all I can say. I love to do it, because it’s a process you can do without money. I did this one in Paris, and now I want to do one about three cities. I want to do it about Detroit; Gary, Indiana; and Little Haiti in Miami, about the foreclosures. But I can do it in such an inventive way, because I don’t think it is right to show and make people enjoy looking at poverty. But in a true installation, you can find a way to do it in a different way. And I have an idea. I was supposed to shoot already in Miami last week, but I couldn’t do it. And it cost nothing, and I can afford it, you know? And that’s great. I do it myself with my own little camera. I don’t use a DP. I do it myself. Because what I hate in movies is all those people you need. And then I realize I do better when I shoot by myself.

You’ve made a lot of documentaries in the U.S., from the short films in the new collection to more recent works like South and From The Other Side. What brings you back?

CA: Well, the U.S. is so iconic, you know? And also, you see more things when they are far away. When I’m in my neighborhood, I don’t see anything anymore, because I’m so used to it. When I go somewhere else, suddenly, I’m alive. I’m on alert, and I can be fresh. I was in my neighborhood last week and I needed a cigarette, because I couldn’t sleep. So I went at 4:30 in the morning to a café 500 meters from my place. And it was another city… Totally different than where I go every day. And I said, “God, I will do that again.” That’s another subject I want to do. It’s my street, suddenly different at 5:00 in the morning. I can shoot for one week. That’s enough to make a movie.

 

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14 of Chantal Akerman’s 36 films

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Saute ma ville (1968)
‘Akerman actually dropped out of film school before completing a single term in order to make it, selling stocks and working in an office to fund the twelve and a half minutes that eventually paved the way for her three hour plus opus. As with Jeanne Dielman, intense, oppressive boredom and domestic isolation are the context for our heroine. Akerman herself stars as the principle, frenetically humming her way through a kind of manic episode. What starts as a routine evening at home descends into a frenzy; she tapes up the door to her cramped apartment, she smears and flings cleaning products with wild abandon, and she goes from shining her shoes to scrubbing her actual leg with the stiff-bristled brush.’ — Dangerous Minds


the entire film

 

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Hotel Monterey (1972)
‘In the second of her 1972 experiments, Akerman again wanted to draw viewers’ eyes to elements in the frame that they might not otherwise have considered. Similarly focused on architecture and interior spaces, Hotel Monterey is grander in scope than La chambre. Through a succession of elegantly composed, silent shots—some tracking, some static—Akerman transforms a run-down Upper West Side single-room-occupancy hotel (where she had sometimes spent nights with a friend) into a site of contemplation and unconventional beauty. There was barely any planning: Akerman knew only that she would start filming on the hotel’s main floor and end at the top, and that she wanted to emerge from dark into light, night into day. The shoot lasted one night, approximately fifteen straight hours, during which Akerman and Mangolte would put the camera down wherever it felt right and roll until Akerman’s gut told her to stop. Akerman later explained that “the shots are exactly as long as I had the feeling of them inside myself”; about the overall conception, she said, “I want people to lose themselves in the frame and at the same time to be truly confronting the space.”’ — Michael Koresky, The Criterion Collection


excerpt


excerpt

 

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Je, tu, il, elle (1976)
Je tu il elle opens to the terse and contextually ambiguous, yet personally revealing statement “…And I left” as a nameless young woman – later identified as Julie (Chantal Akerman) – sits on a chair off-side of the frame with her back to the camera as she recounts an autobiographical anecdote into an obscured journal. The fragmentary and dissociated introductory episode provides an appropriate and incisive distillation into the essence of film (and more broadly, to Akerman’s cinema) itself as Julie passes idle time in her austere and sparsely furnished studio apartment by arbitrarily painting the walls in a different color one day to suit her whim (then another color on the next day), repositioning her few odd bits of furniture (a mattress, a bureau, a mirror, and a chair) within the confines of the room, and writing copious, but logically asequential and fractured stream of consciousness notes that methodically chronicle her thoughts, sentiments, and impulsive activities during her isolated, self-imposed solitude. Chronicling Julie’s estranged but illuminating interaction with her environment, Je tu il elle serves an abstract, but intrinsically lucid framework for Akerman’s languid, meditative, provocative, and indelibly haunting expositions on spiritual and existential transience.’ — Strictly Film School


Excerpt


the entire film

 

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Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (1975)
Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles is Chantal Akerman’s masterpiece, a mesmerizing study of stasis and containment, time and domestic anxiety. Stretching its title character’s daily household routine in long, stark takes, Akerman’s film simultaneously allows viewers to experience the materiality of cinema, its literal duration, and gives concrete meaning to a woman’s work. We watch, for three hours and twenty-one minutes, as Jeanne cooks, takes a bath, has dinner with her adolescent son, shops for groceries, and looks for a missing button. Each gesture and sound becomes imprinted in our mind, and as we are lulled by familiar rhythms and expected behavior, we become complicit with Jeanne’s desire for order. The perfect parity between Jeanne’s predictable schedule and Akerman’s minimalist precision deflects our attention from the fleeting signs of Jeanne’s afternoon prostitution. They nevertheless loom at the edge of our mind, gradually building unease. Jeanne Dielman constitutes a radical experiment with being undramatic, and paradoxically with the absolute necessity of drama.’ — Ivone Margulies, The Criterion Collection


Excerpt


Excerpt

 

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News from Home (1977)
‘Described by Melissa Anderson as “one of the most unheralded portraits of the city,” News from Home is as much a symphony of urban geometric abstraction as it is a poetic diaspora tale. Inspired by the letters she received from her mother while living in New York, Akerman returned to the city after an absence and filmed its streets with her Pentax camera. “Although Akerman’s New York is largely a city of non-sites—empty Tribeca alleys, dingy Midtown parking lots, an abandoned gas station tucked into the crook of another building’s wall—the symmetry of her composition gives it the classic aura of ancient Rome” (J. Hoberman). From the eternal city Akerman reads her mother’s letters, conjuring a sense of distant voices and still lives.’ — moma.org


Excerpt

 

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Les rendez vous d’Anna (1978)
‘Anna Silver is a filmmaker. Her mother and sick father live in Belgium. Her frequent travels mean that hotel rooms are home as much as anywhere. Visits to the parental home are fleeting affairs – confessional intimacies between mother and daughter must be taken wherever they can. Pick-ups are easy-come-easy-go affairs. Commitment is provisional. ‘Anna, where are you?’, a voice enquires. Anna may not know or much care. The reflexive, seemingly autobiographical nature of all these components needs no underlining, and this hall-of-mirrors effect can be superficially disorientating. But a true bearing is sustained by the luminous, painterly miracle of wonderful image-making, and the sure sense of a great mind at work, exploring the alienating topographies of contemporary Europe.’ — ica.org.uk


Excerpt


Excerpt

 

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Toute une nuit (1982)
‘Chantal Akerman’s 1982 film Toute une nuit is a cinematic ballet, a nocturnal symphony that captures the movements of attraction and repulsion between lovers over the course of a summer night in Brussels. Beginning at dusk as the calm of the evening quiets the city, and concluding the following morning with the deafening sounds of morning traffic, the film follows anonymous individuals as they meet and separate. The darkness of the urban evening provides a backdrop for the choreography of love, the melodramatic gestures of the actors materializing like luminous fireflies from the shadows. These gestures take center stage in this film, while the nameless characters and discontinuous mini-narratives function merely as props through which movement is realized. Akerman does not use narrative in the film in order to achieve continuity; rather, she creates continuity through constant affective change that endures throughout the film. In other words, the discontinuity of Akerman’s collection of fragmented narratives, often abruptly cut and seemingly independent are fused in affect; the melody of a pop song carried across the city by the wind, the clacking of footsteps on city pavement, rustling leaves, slamming doors, and most importantly the poses and gestures of the actors’ bodies merge in order to suggest affective change.’ — Darlene Pursley


Excerpt


Excerpt

 

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Golden Eighties (1986)
Golden Eighties interweaves tales of love, longing, disappointment and heartbreak. It offers song and choreographed – if not quite dance-like – movement. Akerman is working as ever with ordinary material, arranged and framed with precise purpose. Meet Lili, proprietor of a hair salon, faithless lover, heartbreaker and opportunist. Meet Mado and Pascale, best friends, too kind to each other to share news of betrayal in love. Meet Sylvie, kept almost alive by letters from her lover far away in Canada looking for a fortune. Shot with distinctive Fujicolor film stock, lit without shadows, stuck in an interior studio world as if exterior did not exist, jam-packed with infuriatingly catchy tunes, this is an astonishing work from an artist who began as a structuralist, albeit a structuralist with a gift for narrative.’ — ica.org.uk


Excerpt


Excerpt

 

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Toute Une Nuit (1991)
‘With a Parisian backdrop, Nuit et jour (Night and Day) (1991) follows Jack and Julie, a young couple who have just moved to the city. They never sleep. During the day they stay in the flat and make love. At night, Jack drives a cab round the city while Julie wanders the streets. Jack knows the streets as he drives around at night, while Julie recognises the city through her night-time wanderings. Theirs is a voyeuristic experience of Paris; they are always watching but never part of what is going on. Their love for each other is so intense when they are together that all they see is each other, disrupted only when Jack must go back to work. The couple lead a relatively isolated existence. They don’t make friends with their neighbours. Their only interaction with family occurs when Jack’s parents spontaneously visit one afternoon. In this scene the four of them sit awkwardly on odd stools in a barely furnished room. Only just out of bed, Julie sits in a shirt and Jack in trousers, as if they only make a complete outfit when they’re together. The parents do not stay long or say much. When they ask what the couple do with themselves in the city, Julie simply replies, “We have time.”’ — LITRO


Excerpt


Excerpt

 

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D’Est (1993)
‘Akerman’s wordless winter travelogue from East Germany, through Poland and the Baltic states, into the inner belt of Moscow and its cavernous central stations. Filmed on the heels of the early 1990’s collapse of the Soviet empire, it is her attempt not simply to document an alien standard of living with her typically forthright gaze, but to memorialize a certain mode of life that few outside the grey orbit of the Soviet bloc have the fortitude to endure even when edited down to a series of lengthy tracking shots.’ — The Other Journal


Excerpt


Excerpt

 

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Un divan à New York (1996)
‘1996’s A Couch in New York/Un divan à New York is essentially a superior version of Nancy Meyers’ The Holiday, predating the Meyers romcom by 10 years. You know, the one about two people who switch residences – in the case of the Akerman film, Juliette Binoche, a Parisian woman feeling pressured by all the men in her life, and William Hurt, a New York psychotherapist tired of his patients and their problems. What sounds like a generic, formulaic sitcom turns into something quite magical in Akerman’s hands. She deftly targets the hapless transfer of people to different places as something not just playful but potentially unstable and dangerous. Relationships usually take one into uncharted territorty and that’s what Akerman toys with so cynically here. The film may be Akerman’s most accessible and commerical to date, but its distinctive technique is pure Chantal, resplendent with tiny bits of business and hugely observant.’ — The Passionate Moviegoer


Trailer

 

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Là-bas (2006)
‘‘It’s a very contemplative film… and by this I mean slow,’ remarked Chantal Akerman, introducing her César-nominated documentary Là-bas (Over there, 2006) at its US première in New York. ‘Have patience,’ she continued, ‘there are some rewards at the end.’ And she was right: roughly 75 of the 79 minutes of the film’s running time are stationary shots in which not much of anything happens. A digital video camera peeks out of an apartment’s semi-blinded windows, observing neighbours at leisure on their balconies. They smoke, they have tea, they move potted plants around. In the meantime the ebb and flow of ambient street noise (children squealing, scooters buzzing, birds warbling) provide some sonic landmarks, and sporadic bursts of off-camera action and monologue gradually reveal a storyline. Speaking in a melancholy hush, the film’s unseen subject alternates between reflecting on the past and describing feelings of alienation in the present. As these snippets accrue, a portrait begins to emerge: the persona behind the camera is Akerman, trapped in the apartment by her own fears and depressive inertia.’ — Frieze


Excerpt

 

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La Folie Almayer (2011)
‘At the end of Joseph Conrad’s Almayer’s Folly, the title character, a benighted Dutch trader at a failed Malaysian outpost, is deserted by his beloved half-caste daughter Nina and determines to forget her before he dies. “He had a fixed idea that if he should not forget before he died he would have to remember to all eternity,” writes Conrad. “Certain things had to be taken out of his life, stamped out of sight, destroyed, forgotten.” The last pages of the novel narrate this implacable determination, and in the end Almayer is found dead with a calm look on his face, showing that he “had been permitted to forget before he died.” Chantal Akerman’s La folie Almayer is not so kind: in its final, unbroken, minutes-long shot, it considers the ravaged face of Almayer (Stanislas Merhar) as he is forced to confront his folly, to face it in all its unrelenting horror. The extraordinary opacity of this final shot is inversely related to the psychological cataclysm taking place within Almayer’s mind, his annihilating rush of self-knowledge depicted not through (conventional) drama but duration—thus remaining, in a crucial dimension, unreadable, unknowable to the audience. Yet it is this very tension between knowing and not knowing that gives this final shot its remarkable, wrenching power: a painful plenitude that evokes physically, phenomenologically, the self-annihilating folly/delusion to which Almayer has willingly yielded.’ — cinemascope


Trailer 1


Trailer 2

 

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No Home Movie (2015)
‘Chantal Akerman’s final film has almost unbearable poignancy and melancholy: a documentary still-life study of her elderly mother, Natalia (or Nelly) Akerman, a Holocaust survivor born in Poland. Akerman was intensely close to her, and her death contributed to the profound depression that led Akerman to take her own life in October 2015 at 65. Natalia is shown living in her modest Brussels apartment: there are long, static shots of her pottering from room to room or having affectionate (and strangely gripping) chats with Chantal herself, in person or on Skype. Like teenage lovers, Chantal and Natalia can hardly bear to hang up. Chantal’s sister Sylviane periodically arrives to take up the elder-care duties, and there are home-care nurses. Inch by inch, Natalia is retreating from the world. There is a heartwrenching scene in which she appears to be sleeping on a recliner and Chantal, having apparently been told by a doctor that she should not sleep, tries to get her to wake up, an all too obvious parable for not going gently into that good night. The title itself is ambiguous: it is no conventional home movie, or perhaps it is a movie about no home, a movie about saddened alienation from home. In its stillness and mystery, and its infinitely careful transcription of the textures of a life – the carpets, the fittings, the surfaces – No Home Movie shows links with her great masterpiece: Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai Du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles.’ — The Guardian


Trailer


Excerpt

 

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p.s. Hey. It turns out that this will be my last p.s. before the film projects eats me alive. Painfully early tomorrow morning, Zac and I train to the city of Caen to do two long days of rehearsals with the actors based in Basse Normandie and then on to Cherbourg to do the last preparations for the film shoot, which starts early Monday morning. You will get restored posts tomorrow and Friday, plus your monthly escorts post on Saturday, and then the blog will go completely still until it pops back to life on Monday, May 1st. Please feel more than free to hang out here and leave comments for each other or for me in the next few days, or even while the blog is stuck in place. I’ll catch up with everything left for me on May 1st. Obviously, I hope you guys have a very healthy, fun, productive, and much more next roughly two and a half weeks, and I greatly look forward to being with you again as soon as the filming is history. Last note is that I seem to be even a little sicker today than yesterday, and apologies for the signs, and I’m sorry to have to do my temporary farewell while feeling crappy. ** Steevee, Hi. The timing on my descent into illness could only have been worse had it happened closer to the commencement of the shooting itself, so I’m hanging on to that very slight luck. No, I have no time at all to see a doctor, unfortunately, so I’m just going to have to battle whatever this thing is into submission by the seat of my pants, as it were. Well, as I’ve no doubt said before, I think going vegan is the gold standard among ways to lose weight in a healthy way. Good news, man. I’m happy the Dash Shaw interview went well, and that you managed to crease the psychedelics issue. I look forward to it. I’m going to try to keep myself aware of stuff when the filming has its breaks. We’ll have one full day off, even though I seriously doubt it will be very off, on the Sunday during the shoot, so hopefully then. ** Jamie, Hi, Jamie! Yeah, getting whomped right now is a rather cruel fate, I must say, but there it is. I’m taking zinc, yeah, probably too late in the game for it do much of a magic trick, though. I hope your next days are super sweet ones, my friend, and let me know if you want and can. I’ll still be looking in here regularly albeit with no obvious signs that I am, I guess. Very determined love, Dennis. ** David Ehrenstein, Hi, David. Thanks! Well, that’s good to know. I am hoping that by the filming commences on Monday I’ll be out of these woods. Have a lovely time while I’m indisposed, film-wise. ** Grant Maierhofer, My great pleasure, Grant! Thank you for the opportunity. Love, me. ** Dóra Grőber, Hi, Dóra! I’m so happy you liked the excerpt so much! Cool! Yeah, the timing on this illness thing is quite horrible. I made it through the rehearsals and a costume fitting, but that maxed me out, so Zac and Michael Salerno had to handle to shooting schedule/shot list meeting themselves, which I think was fine, and I’m doing a follow up couple of meetings today. Yes, your thoughts/plans about the work you’ll use in SCAB is totally reasonable. Oh, ‘Eat When You Feel Sad’! I really love that book. I wanted to publish it with my currently dormant imprint Little House on the Bowery, but I couldn’t compete with Melville House. I don’t feel so hot, to be honest, but I just have to force this sickness thing out of my body somehow as soon as possible. No choice. Today I have those meetings I mentioned, and I have to gather things for my long trip/time away from home and pack and stuff, which will be a lot given my crappiness, but I think it’ll get done. Well, I hope you have really fantastic next couple of weeks, Dora, and I look very forward to hearing how you are and how things went. And, yeah, leave reports here if you feel like it, because I’ll be looking in here as often as I can. xoxo, Dennis. ** _Black_Acrylic, Hi, Ben. Thank, man. Yeah, it’s not the end of the world, for sure, but I do feel kind of like an old jalopy in a freeway fast lane. Take care until soon, my friend. ** New Juche, Howdy, Joe! ** Misanthrope, Hi, G. I’m on zinc. Maybe it’s helping in some as-yet manifested way, I can’t tell yet. Ha ha. And ha ha, sorry, about the wild ‘pregnancy’ guess. My brain was no good. And it’s less good today, so grain of salt. It’s about writing! That’s much better, yes! Okay, gotcha, mum’s the word for now. But still. I think, yes, I can be quite silly. I think if you asked, say, Zac or Gisele if I can be silly, they would say, ‘Oh, yes’, at least based on what happens to their facial expressions when I act a certain, uh, loosey-goosey way sometimes. Buddy, have the best next couple of weeks! ** Jeff Coleman, Hi, Jeff. I … think MK did the ‘Gag’ design, but … I’m not totally sure. Best to you, man. ** Bill, Thanks, Bill, me too, big time. Majorly enjoy the rest of April, okay? ** Right. Today I’m restoring my post about the ultra-great Chantal Akerman, and even though it accompanying my last p.s. for a while is a total coincidence, there’s something kind of nice about that. Anyway, take care, everybody. Enjoy the blog tomorrow, Friday, and Saturday. I’ll see you again in my familiar p.s.-shaped form on May 1st!

8 Comments

  1. Nice to see this Chantal day. I got to know her personally a bit (she was a very difficult person) in the 80s when she was in L.A. a lot trying to get backing for a film version of Isaac Bashevitz Singer’s “The Manor and the Estate.” She set up screenings of Les Rendez-vous D’Anna — a film of literally no appeal to Hollywood. In Je Tu il Elle she puts her bisexuality on full display. WhileJeanne Dielman is an acknowledged classic my faves are Toute Une Nuit and The Golden 80s. The letter is especially cherry — a musical. Alas she came to a sad end

  2. Was introduced to Ackerman ‘s work when I was in school. She’s great, really need to know her work better, so thanks for the jumping off point.
    Sending transatlantic healing rays.

  3. ‘ … I do feel kind of like an old jalopy in a freeway fast lane…’ Dennis you kill me! Get better my friend! Have fun on the film shoot and please make the best film ever! I’m really looking forward to seeing it.

    As JACK Torrance / Nicholson said in The Shining … Until MAY the first!

    Xoxo
    James

  4. Hi!

    I guess I’ll keep this short as I’m sure you’ve got a billion things going on right now!
    Thank you for the well-wishes! I’ll make sure to fill you in on everything important that happens to me during these few weeks!
    I really hope you get better ASAP!! I keep my fingers extremely crossed for you! Have huge fun shooting the film; I hope everything turns out exactly as you planned and you’ll have some time to breathe and sleep a little too, at least once in a while!
    I’m looking forward to hearing everything you have to share when you get back home!!
    Have a nice and safe trip, Dennis!!

  5. Hey Dennis, you have my sympathies on the not feeling well thing: in March I had the flu, a sinus infection, and a stomach bug, in the span of like 3 weeks… talk about an unholy trifecta! And just as I (slowly) get over that, suddenly the whole world blooms overnight and my allergies go haywire… but at least now the weather here is proper Spring-like, after nearly a month of snow, rain, cold sunless days, and general gloom. Anyway, hope you improve speedily, and good luck with the shooting!

  6. Lots and lots of love to you, Dennis! I’ll miss you and the blog. I hope you feel better and better as of NOW! and the filming is an amazing, fulfilling, rewarding experience. You’re going to make something amazing, aren’t you? I can feel it.
    Love,
    Jamie

  7. Dear Dennis: So nice as I’m coincidentally writing something on Akerman right now. It’s a film school project, but I of course consider it my piece. Really great Akerman. Like Mr Ehrenstein, I too love Toute une nuit. And her half documentary films are also truly beautiful. Thank you for the post.

    Hope you’re feeling better, and the filming will go really well.

  8. Safe trip, Big D! Have fun.

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